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Library grant to highlight C&O

February 03, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Two states will benefit from a $6,100 grant to the Washington County Free Library to be used to highlight the economic influence of the C&O Canal on Maryland and West Virginia.

"It's kind of nice," said John Frye of the Western Maryland Room at the library. "We've got big things planned."

The grant came from the Maryland Humanities Council in partnership with the PNC Foundation.

"We wrote a grant to fund panel discussions and programs dealing with Jefferson County and Shepherdstown in West Virginia," said Carol Appenzellar, project manager.

The grant will also go toward the production of a Web site partnering the C&O Canal National Historical Park, the Western Maryland Regional Library and Washington County Free Library to tell the story of life in the canal towns through historic photographs, newspapers, correspondence and oral history.

The online display will be a permanent feature on Western Maryland's Historical Library Web site at www.whilbr.org.

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"We are now looking at a date for a kickoff reception, possibly the last week in May, with speakers and dignitaries," Appenzellar said.

The first of two programs on the C&O Canal and its importance to Washington County, Western Maryland and vicinity is scheduled for June 13. There will be a tour of the Williamsport trolley barn, where a canal exhibit is already set up.

Author Robert Kapsch will discuss his book "Canals" at the Williamsport event.

Drawing on the Library of Congress' collection of photographs, illustrations and architectural drawings, the book is the largest single source of material for those interested in the history of America's first transportation network, according to the library.

It provides a visual journey along two of the most famous canals: the C&O Canal in Maryland (now a national park) and the Morris Canal in New Jersey (largely lost to development).

On June 20, an event will be held at Ferry Hill across the Potomac in Shepherdstown, and will also include canal tours, Appenzellar said.

In addition to Appenzellar and Frye, project participants include Sam Tamburro and Ahna Wilson of C&O Canal National Historical Park; and Jill Craig of Western Maryland Regional Library.

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